4K vs 1080p for Gaming: Your Complete Guide
If you are looking to start PC gaming or upgrading from your current setup, it’s important to invest in hardware that supports high resolution with optimal performance. The difference between 1080p and 4K is big but whether or not 4K is worth the cost depends on what you want out of your gaming experience. Deciding how much you want to spend and whether you want better graphics or performance will put the differences between 1080p and 4K into perspective.
What is the Difference Between 1080p & 4K Resolutions?
Full high definition (Full HD) is 1920x1080 pixels or otherwise known as 1080p while Ultra HD refers to 4K and measures 3840x2160 pixels. Images in 4K have four times the amount of pixels and look twice as sharp than 1080p but the aspect ratio of 16:9 is the same. The big difference in image quality between 1080p and 4K resolution is why there’s a big difference in price as well. Full HD has been the standard for for many years but the new generation is turning towards 4K and becoming more accessible and affordable.
Benefits of Sticking With 1080p
Still the Standard
Gaming at 4K resolution has become more popular in the past year but, 1080p is still the standard supported by most PC games. In fact, the majority of esports gamers prefer gaming on a 1080p monitor as it provides better FPS, response time, and refresh rates, all of which get prioritized in competitive gaming. Most monitors from the past 10 years will support gaming at 1080p and although 4K has become more accessible, it is still harder to come across monitors that display 4K resolution. 1080p is the standard choice for gamers looking for smooth gameplay in high definition.
Less Hardware Intensive
Running games at 1080p is less intensive on your hardware than it is to run them at 4k resolution. A monitor that displays images at 4K requires a GPU that is capable of running at that resolution. Trying to game at 4K with anything less than an RTX 3070 can damage your PC. A setup that runs games at 4K resolution with 30fps might display 60 frames or higher at 1080p. Even with a powerful graphics card, gaming at 4K can still cause noticeable dips in frame rate, whereas 1080p offers smoother and more precise gameplay.
1080p has been the standard resolution for modern games and PC monitors for many years and has now become even more affordable with the introduction of 4K monitors to the market. If you’re getting started in PC gaming or on a budget but want to experience gaming at high definition, you can purchase a set up for less than $1,400. The Apex Silver runs games at over 60fps with the ASUS 24in 1080p monitor, which is about half the cost of a 4K monitor.
Benefits of Upgrading to 4K
Greater Visual Definition
Larger game studios keep pushing the limits when it comes to visuals and 4K has allowed developers to create games that have beautiful and highly detailed graphics. Smaller details are more visible in games displayed at 4K because they contain quadruple the amount of pixels as 1080p resolution. The image appears twice as sharp but in order to experience games in Ultra HD you need a 4K monitor that is ideally 27” or above, such as the Asus Rog Swift.
Gaming at 4K can significantly decrease your frame rates and cause you to decide between ultra HD or better performance unless you have a powerful enough PC. The standard model of the Apex Xtreme comes with an RTX 3070 and can be further customized to an upgraded GPU. Paired with a 4K monitor, it can run games at higher resolutions without sacrificing gameplay.
Many of the games published by triple-A studios such as EA and Ubisoft have included 4K as an option for the past couple years and although 1080p is still the standard, the future shows a trend towards ultra high definition. By investing in a build that supports 4K, your custom built gaming PC will run any new game that comes out for years to come.
The Middle Ground: 1440p
If you’re exceeding your monitor’s refresh rate but can’t upgrade to 4K or looking for a budget-friendly option then a 1440p monitor may be a good middle ground. 1440p is also known as Quad High Definition (Quad HD) because it quadruples the resolution of 720p, and is between 1080p and 4K. A 1440p monitor like the ASUS Tuf has 78% more pixels than a 1080p monitor and displays a crisper image for less than the cost of a 4K monitor. A PC that can run games 1440p also costs significantly less than one for 4K because it does not require such a powerful GPU. 1440p increases the resolution while maintaining smooth gameplay that is otherwise compromised with 4K.
Which is Better for Gaming?
There are differences between 4K and 1080p gaming but which is better depends on what qualities you’re looking for when purchasing a PC monitor. Things to consider when deciding which is better are prices and gaming experience. If you are looking to immerse yourself in stunning graphics then 4K is better for you. When gaming in 4K it is ideal to use a monitor that’s 27”.
Most professional eSports players may say that gaming at 1080p is better because it has higher frame rates and improves refresh rates and response time. If you want greater image quality and your PC is capable of handling it, 1440p is a good step before taking the leap to 4K. A PC like the Apex Carbon is good for gaming at 1440p but can be easily upgraded to 4K when you are ready.
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